The Government has failed to deliver on its pledges to fully compensate Nottingham for the costs and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic says City Council Portfolio Holder for Finance, Councillor Sam Webster.
In total Nottingham has incurred estimated costs and lost income of £85million due to Covid-19 with only £19million of Government support having been previously provided.
Yesterday’s announcement provides only £500million to be shared out across all councils in the country, compared to the estimated costs of £7.4billion that councils like Nottingham have incurred during the Covid-19 crisis.
The announcement also contained a commitment to provide some compensation for a portion of councils lost income from fees and charges. While a step in the right direction this does not meet the Government’s pledge to fully cover Covid-19 costs and will still leave a considerable hole in the Council’s finances.
As a result of the pandemic, Nottingham has seen and continues to have additional costs for services including care for older and vulnerable people, Coroners costs and providing PPE. Additionally the loss of income from leisure centres, trade waste services, school catering, car parks and many other areas causes a very large funding shortfall.
The lack of adequate Government compensation for Covid-19 will mean that councils including Nottingham will need to continue to consider the difficult decisions about services in order to balance their budgets over the coming weeks.
Councillor Webster says:
“All we are asking for is for the Government to honour the clear promise they made to communities and key workers who work either directly or indirectly for the council to cover the costs of the Covid crisis. Yesterday’s announcement by Robert Jenrick falls well short of what was promised.
“From the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, they said they would stand shoulder to shoulder with us. While today’s extra support is of course welcome, the overall funding they have provided so far doesn’t come close to covering the expenses incurred to tackle the crisis locally. We also need more detail from Government so we can understand how this limited funding will be allocated and what areas of lost income they will be including.
“We now estimate the financial impact of Covid-19 on local services in Nottingham to be around £85m and even with today’s announcement that leaves us and other councils well short of what was pledged and is required from Government.
“For councils like ours, where our key workers have risen to the challenge and been at the forefront of keeping vital services running, protecting vulnerable people, ensuring PPE supplies get through to the frontline and doing all we can to help local businesses survive, the failure of Government so far to honour their promise is a real kick in the teeth.”